The 2016 Grammy Nominations Surprises Aren't The Strangest Ever

by Jenn Rose

The 2016 Grammy Nominations have been announced, and while most aren’t that shocking – multiple nominations for Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, and The Weeknd were expected – a few of the 2016 Grammy nominations were unexpected and might have you scratching your head. To wit: did you know that Slipknot was still a thing, and that they’re in the running for Best Rock Album? Yes, they’re still making music, dressing like creepy monster clowns, and preventing grandmas across America from entering Hot Topic to buy their grandkids a gift certificate for Christmas this year. Just let that sink in.

Also of note: Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy, outspoken atheist, and former Oscar hosting trainwreck is up for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. This makes a litte more sense when you understand what the category means; “Traditional Pop” doesn’t mean Madonna or Katy Perry. Fellow nominees include Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett, and Josh Groban. Longtime Family Guy viewers will recall that the voice of Brian Griffin has one hell of a set of pipes. He just released his third album, No One Ever Tells You, in October of 2015.

But the biggest surprise of all is actually someone who’s already won 18 Grammys. After 58 years in the music business, Sir Paul McCartney is up for two more awards, which isn’t that eyebrow-raising in and of itself. It’s the categories that will surprise you: Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, both for “All Day,” by Kanye West, which features Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, and McCartney. So next time an Old complains about rap music being “just noise,” you now have a really great argument for why they should give it a chance. I mean, dude’s a knight, after all.

So, are these the weirdest Grammy nominations we’ve ever seen? Not by a long shot! Take a look at some past winners in the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ category:

Jethro Tull

If you're not familiar with Jethro Tull, ask your pothead uncle to show you his record collection this Christmas. Chances are, he'll take you down to Grandma's basement and pull out "Aqualung" on vinyl. Jethro Tull is a good band. Jethro Tull includes a flute. Jethro Tull beat out Metallica for the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989. Nobody can explain that, not even Jethro Tull.

Milli Vanilli

OK, so it's not all that surprising that Milli Vanilli won Best New Artist in 1989, because, to be honest, they totally were. They had three hit singles. Everyone loved them. The only problem was that they didn't actually sing their own songs. Milli Vanilli was a fraud, and the world mourned when they were later stripped of their Grammy. It was a dark time for America. Fab Morvan, the surviving half, told his story on The Moth in 2011, and I highly recommend listening to it.

Todd McFarlane

You might know Todd McFarlane as the creator of the Spawn comic books, or as the designer of McFarlane Toys, the only action figures ever made that actually look like human beings. But did you know he also won a Grammy for directing the Korn video "Freak on a Leash" in 2000?

Baha Men

Baha Men

I'm sorry to do this, but "Who Let the Dogs Out?" is now going to be stuck in your head all day, just like it was back in 2001, when it won Best Dance Recording. Although the song is about 80% yelling and 20% barking, the human/English lyrics are actually about cat-calling. The "dogs" are men. So, that's something.


According to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, "With Arms Wide Open" was the Best Rock Song of 2001. It's ironic that a Christian band caused so many people to wonder how there could possibly be a god. 2001 was a terrible year. Please enroll your children in music lessons immediately.

Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, & Sophia Loren

Sean Gallup

Yes, they all won, and they won together. But unfortunately, the actress and former world leaders didn't form a supergroup together. The Grammy went to Gorbachev, Clinton and Loren for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, for their recording of "Peter and the Wolf," which I absolutely would have been forced to listen to if I was still a kid in 2004.

Tia Carrere

Ethan Miller

Yes, Cassandra from Wayne's World has won two Grammys, and no, neither of them were for covering "Ballroom Blitz." Tia Carrere has won Best Hawaiian Music Album twice, on 2009 and 2011.

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